Staff Reporters
May 3, 2019

Marketing for Ramadan? Put your money in mobile, research says

TOP OF THE CHARTS: 2018 data from Criteo gives marketers some hints on how to get the most out of Ramadan budgets.

Marketing for Ramadan? Put your money in mobile, research says

Mobile advertising drives a 69% sales uplift during the Ramadan season, compared with 53% for desktop, according to a study of 2018 data released by Criteo.

The company also found that retail marketers should start their Ramadan campaigns two weeks ahead of the holiday, while those in travel should continue their efforts beyond Eid al-Fitr to maximise their investments.

Criteo analysed more than 111 million retail shopping transactions and over 40 million travel sales bookings across desktop, smartphones, and tablets from 107 major advertisers in Malaysia and Indonesia during the Ramadan season last year, which took place from 15 May to 14 June. Mobile sales included sales via mobile websites and apps, both on smartphones and tablets.

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The analysis revealed strong online sales in Malaysia and Indonesia in the lead up to and during Ramadan. Online retail sales surged 10 days into Ramadan and lasted through the two weeks before Eid al-Fitr on 15 June. A 57% uplift in online retail sales was observed on 4 June. Consumer activity typically slowed at the start and end of the period, which could indicate consumers focusing more on the actual festivities during those times. 

Mobile web sales (below) saw a bigger increase of up to 69% in Malaysia and Indonesia, compared to desktop sales at 53%.

Moving average of indexed values based on average sales in April 2018. Criteo data. All retail, Indonesia and Malaysia.


App sales (below) increased by up to 41%.

 Indexed values based on average sales in April 2018. Criteo data. In app, all retail, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Online traffic for travel sites in Malaysia and Indonesia (below) saw a continuous increase during Ramadan, with the biggest rise at a 50% uplift a week after Eid al-Fitr. Online travel sales only started surging one week after Eid al-Fitr and lasted for two weeks, rising by up to 13% uplift.

Moving average of indexed values based on average sales and traffic in April 2018. Criteo data. All travel, Indonesia and Malaysia.


“Ramadan represents a notable cultural shift in consumer behaviour, with the Middle East and Southeast Asia being key regions," Alban Villani, Criteo managing director for SEA-Pacific, said in a release. "Moreover, the global Islamic economy is also growing year-on-year, estimating to reach US$3 trillion by 2023. Given the growth potential of the halal industry, retailers should leverage Ramadan to engage Muslim shoppers. They should start reaching out to shoppers early with the relevant messaging two weeks earlier, especially when shoppers are thinking of buying gifts for family and friends. As some shoppers might purchase later into the festive season, retailers should continue engaging them with special offers and personalised content throughout Ramadan to optimise their campaign efforts. By doing so, it is easier for retailers to stay top-of-mind when shoppers are ready to buy gifts to share the festive joy."

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